OUR NEIGHBORS NORTH AND SOUTH
Psalms 75:6–7 (KJV)
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
I don’t think anyone here would deny that God has blessed the United States of America in a unique way.
· Militarily, and
In almost any area a person would want to consider, America, in just a short 220 years, has risen to be the top of the line.
While it is true that, to some degree, it could be attributed to the huge natural resources we have in this land,
Do you ever stop to ponder WHY we are so uniquely blessed?
It made me think of our neighbors to the north and south.
Back in 1990 my family took a two week trip to visit a missionary in Mexico. The trip taught me a good number of things — one, I am not called to be a missionary.
It also taught me something about the relationship of the United States to our neighbor to the south.
Most of the people we met were extremely poor.
One day, as I was helping the missionary do some repairs to a church building, some children approached me and asked for a gift.
They told me I should help them because I am an American and I am rich.
I think the world thinks just like those little children.
America ought to help the whol world, because America is rich.
Anita and I came away from Mexico believing that the country could be turned around in one generation, if only the parents disciplined their children.
When you go to the restroom in Mexico, whether, in a home, in a public facility or at a church, you have to ask someone for toilet paper.
They don’t keep toilet paper in any bathroom because the children will play with it and waste it all.
The missionary we were with was visited by almost all of the 20 or so national pastors he helped every day.
· He would give them a daily allowance of money and
· He would give them a vehicle they were required to return at the end of the day
He said the reason was that they were so irresponsible that if they were not told to bring it back, they would just drive it until it ran out of gas and walk away from it.
(I think I know some Americans who are getting just as bad — on both counts!)
But there can’t be much question that both countries pale next to the United States of America.
Why did our country excel so much more than either of them?
There has been some speculation at least, for the cause of Mexico’s plight, in the fact that the Spaniards moved into that land solely for selfish gain.
I do not know that I could offer a speculation why Canada hasn’t risen to the same hieght as the United States.
But I do believe that we can give some principles that have led to the blessing God has bestowed upon this country.
Our Unique Blessings are traceable to
I. OUR UNIQUE DESIRE TO WORSHIP GOD
Deuteronomy 11:26–27 (KJV)
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
God has always promised to provide blessings on a people who lived in obedience to His Word.
While Mexico was “conquered” in order to gain its gold.
This continent was “inhabited” especially for the worship of God.
This is not to say that all who came to America came here strictly to worship the Lord.
But, it came quickly to pass that this land was the target destination of hundreds of Christians moving here for the opportunities to worship God according to their dictates of their own conscience and how they understood the Bible.
One of the earliest settlements in America was established ONLY for that purpose.
Plymouth was the destination of some of the most famous of America’s settlers, the Pilgrims
The Pilgrims were more widely known in their day as “Separatists” because they believed the Church could have no head but Christ, and therefore would not join with the Church of England.
Because of this they were severely persecuted in England.
Moving to America became an opportunity for freedom of worship. Upon arriving at the area that they would name Plymouth they drafted a simple form of civil government which read in part:
“Having undertaken, for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and honor of our King and country….”
Theirs was a form of government established to advance the glory of God.
B. Rhode Island — the first place for FREE WORSHIP
Just a few years after Plymouth was established, another colony was established in Rhode Island, which took the principles of Freedom even further.
There are historical questions as to who started the first Baptist Church on this continent, Roger Williams, or John Clarke.
However, there is no doubt that Williams established the very first form of government on this continent, built entirely upon Freedom of Worship.
Williams welcomed all into his community, regardless of their religious views.
All others were establishing governments which promoted the freedom to worship AS they, and no one else saw fit. They were duplicating the very problems they fled in the Old World!
In Rhode Island, the words “liberty of conscience.” were first applied.
150 years past
C. And the Framers of the Constitutionwere dealing with the subject of Church and State.
In, what I consider to be one of the most dramatic moments in American history, a group of Baptists from Danbury, and represented by James Madison, persuaded the framers of the constitution to forsake the idea of a state supported church, and write into our government the freedom to worship the one true God according to liberty of conscience.
Secondly, America is uniquely blessed because of
II. OUR UNIQUE DESIRE FOR RIGHTEOUS LEADERSHIP
Proverbs 14:34 (KJV)
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
No other nation on earth has been so interested in having those in leadership with right stands.
Emperors and monarches of the past have been noted and known reprobates.
Yet American has earnestly believed its leaders ought to be moral, righteous, and god fearing.
George Washington believed that no one was fit to lead America unless he was a Christian.
A. We have a Constitution built around the Bible.
When our founders were writing the constitution, it was a common occurrence for them to come into the chamber and share what they had learned in Bible Study.
The wisdom learned in the Bible was then applied to the work they were doing on the constitution.
B. We have a Government resting upon prayer
Even today, when our leadership is far from as righteous as they ought to be, a chaplain is still t here to open every session of Congress in prayer.
C. We have an election which seeks out the most righteous
While I am not in favor of digging up dirt on every one who wants to run for office,
I am encouraged that it is still considered wrong for our leaders to be philanders, and otherwise wicked.
Thirdly, America is uniquely blessed because of
III. OUR UNIQUE DESIRE TO BE A BLESSING TO THE WORLD
Proverbs 11:24–27 (KJV)
There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
America has historically been a giving country, and God has blessed us because of it…
A. We have Given to Promote Human Rights and Freedoms Worldwide.
America has led the way in promoting the same freedoms we have here around the world.
· We have given our skills
· We have given our money, and
· We have given the lives of our soldiers in the promotion of those freedoms
B. We Have Given to Rebuild the Hurting
· If there is a disaster anywhere in the world
· If there is a need
· If there is a calamity
America leads the way in providing finances, labor, and provisions for those who need it.
C. We Have Given to Present the Gospel
America has led the way in sending missionaries around the world
· When we can’t go ourselves, we support those who do go, and
· When we can’t get there and can’t send anyone there, we have given to provide radio programs, printed material, and etc.
God has blessed our country
And the reasons for those blessings are observable and, perhaps most importantly, repeatable..
We need to take heed, because the same principles that have brought upon us God’s blessings,
Can be the reason God removes His blessings if we turn from them.
A French diplomat, Alexis de Tocqueville, once came to America in search of what gave this country her greatness. He travelled all through our land, met our people, watched our businesses.
When he left he said, “I looked for America’s greatness in her factories, and it was not there. I looked for it in her government and it was not there either…” He concluded “America is great because America is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”
We ought to consider that a challenge and, by the grace of God, choose to be good for God’s glory!